What Is It?
Sodium Carbonate is a grayish-white crystalline powder. Sodium Sesquicarbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate are white crystalline solids. Baking soda is another name for Sodium Bicarbonate. In cosmetics and personal care products, these ingredients are used in the formulation of bath, skin, and hair preparations.
Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?
Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sesquicarbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate are used to control the acid-base balance of cosmetic products. In cosmetics and personal care products, Sodium Bicarbonate may also be used as an abrasive, a deodorant agent, and an oral care agent.
Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sesquicarbonate, and Sodium Carbonate occur naturally in mineral deposits. Sodium Cabonate is also called soda ash, while Sodium Bicarbate is also called baking soda. In addition to their use in cosmetics and personal care products, Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sesquicarbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate are also approved for use in food. Sodium Bicarbonate is also an approved active ingredient in OTC skin protectant and anticarries drug products.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reviewed the safety of Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sesquicarbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate and determined that these ingredients were Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) for direct addition to food. Sodium Bicarbonate has also been approved as a skin protectant and an anticarries active ingredient in Over-the-Counter (OTC) drug products.
The safety of Sodium Carbonate and related ingredients has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sesquicarbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate were safe as cosmetic ingredients. In 2005, as part of the scheduled re-evaluation of ingredients, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sesquicarbonate and Sodium Bicarboante and reaffirmed the above conclusion.
More safety Information:
CIR Safety Review: Concentrated solutions of Sodium Carbonate, but not Sodium Bicarbonate, are skin and eye irritants due to their alkaline nature. Highly concentrated solutions of Sodium Carbonate have a pH of greater than 11.
The cosmetic use of Sodium Carbonate at high concentrations is mainly limited to products designed to be diluted before use and in products where pH is buffered to near neutrality. A review of the combined data from sensitization studies indicated that neither Sodium Carbonate nor Sodium Sesquicarbonate was a human sensitizer. The CIR Expert Panel did not consider testing for phototoxicity as warranted.
FDA Links to Code of Federal Regulations for Sodium Bicarbonate
- Specific Substances Affirmed as GRAS
- Skin Protectant Active Ingredients
- Anticaries Active Ingredients
Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sesquicarbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate may be used in cosmetics products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.
The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives has not restricted the daily intake of Sodium Carbonate.
More Scientific Information:
Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Sesquicarbonate and Sodium Bicarbonate are inorganic crystalline compounds that function as a pH adjusters in cosmetic formulations. pH Adjusters are chemicals (acids, bases, or buffering agents) which are used to control the pH of finished cosmetic products.
Find out more about the regulation of over-the-counter drugs by the Food and Drug Administration
Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration